So far as the improvements in present-day Orchid houses are concerned, these are not due to the imagination of the horticultural builder, but to the experience of the Orchid grower. It is owing to him that the old-time glass sides, with their hinged ventilators on a level with the plants, and many other harmful arrangements, have been abandoned. Moderately low, span-roofed houses, extending north and south for preference–although the aspect does not seem to be of vital importance–are the best, the sides being wholly of brick, and also the ends of all but the large houses, in which the upper part may be formed of wood and glass.
The top ventilation should be admitted through ventilators placed at the highest point of the ridge, and they are usually worked by a continuous system manipulated at one end. The lower ventilators should be small ones fixed in the brick-work at the sides of the house, and they may be arranged to be regulated from the outside, or by means of rods attached to the flaps on the inside and reaching to the path, being carried beneath the staging. The natural earth is the best base for an Orchid house, and open wood-work trellises placed on the natural earth are far preferable to tiled paths, therefore their use is strongly recommended. Beneath the central stage, from end to end, deep tanks with cemented interior should be provided, because rain-water is essential for watering the plants. To create a good appearance, narrow, ornamental rockeries may be arranged at the edge of the side staging and beneath it, and in any part of the basement available. These should be planted with Begonias, Tradescantias, such ferns as are not likely to be attacked by thrips, Selaginellas, Fittonias, and Ficus repens, which are not liable to attacks from insects, whilst their presence tends to preserve a healthy atmosphere in the house.
The rockeries beneath the staging should not be built high enough to obstruct the passage of the heat from the hot-water piping, a rise of one foot from the ground level being sufficient.